Why Straightening Your Teeth Is Not Just A Cosmetic Procedure

Posted on: 10 June 2015

Many people look into getting their teeth straightened because they feel self-conscious about how their smile looks. But misaligned teeth are more than just a cosmetic issue. And that's a very good thing, considering that many dental insurance plans won't pay for procedures considered solely cosmetic such as tooth whitening.

On the other hand, braces, whether metal, ceramic, or Invisalign, are almost always covered under dental plans that include orthodontics. And there are some very good reasons why – because getting your teeth straightened is more than vanity. Crooked teeth and improper bite alignment can lead to many different dental problems.

Risk of Damage

Teeth that don't match up evenly are at an increased risk of becoming chipped or broken. If your mouth undergoes trauma – for example, you're hit in the jaw with a ball while playing sports, causing your teeth to snap together – the impact can damage your teeth. When teeth meet up properly, the strain is more likely to be distributed along that area. When they meet up unevenly, the strain will be concentrated in those points where they do meet.

Difficulty Cleaning

This is one of the most common issues with crooked teeth, and it can affect people with relatively minor misalignment. Teeth that are crowded close together can be difficult to floss properly, leading to buildup of plaque between them. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, teeth that are too far apart are more likely to get food stuck between them – also leading to buildup of plaque. This buildup can lead to cavities, worn enamel and tooth sensitivity, and the need for more dental work in the future.

Grinding Teeth

Grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism, can wear down the enamel on them; in extreme cases, teeth may even chip or fracture. The strain on the jaw also gives many people headaches or sore jaw muscles. Bruxism has many possible causes, and the Mayo Clinic lists malocclusion – or improper bite alignment – as one of them.

Chewing Problems

The further out of alignment your teeth are, the more difficult it can be to chew. This may not seem like such a serious problem, especially when you're younger and your jaw muscles can power through more foods even if your teeth make it difficult to eat them. But this problem only gets worse over time; as you get older, your muscles get weaker and your diet becomes more restricted.

So if you have been avoiding asking about Invisalign or other braces because you thought they were just cosmetic, make a point of discussing them with your dentist at your next appointment.

To learn more, contact a dental clinic like Southland Smiles, Ltd